We know that women make up over half of the world’s population, and they occupy nearly half of the entry-level positions in the workforce. It follows then, as women begin to develop their skills and grow in capability, they should have the same opportunities as men to advance their careers as men. Yet, they don’t.
While women are getting their “foot in the door,” in record numbers at the best companies, their representation in the workforce shrinks as they try to climb the corporate ladder. Still, despite barriers such as gender stereotypes, some women do manage to break into the C-suite and rise to the top position of CEO.
The Power of Confidence
What is it that female CEOs are doing differently that allows them to stand out and advance their careers? Well actually, let me change that question to … What is it that SUCCESSFUL CEOs are doing differently that allows them to stand out and advance their careers? They believe in their capabilities, and they invest in self-development.
Believing in yourself is very powerful. In addition to underpinning your confidence, it’s the foundation of other skills, such as optimism, determination and concentration. It’s a crucial ingredient in being able to exercise your will. It’s also an area where men typically outpace their female counterparts.
Successful women CEOs are self-aware and accepting of their own limitations and strengths. Like male CEOs, they recognise their inner drive and potential and fully believe in their abilities.
To succeed, you must first recognise that you have the ability to do so and that you do want to advance to the top position.
Preparing to Lead
In addition to self-acceptance, most successful female leaders create opportunities to lead by investing in their leadership development. They ask for more challenging assignments to help them hone their leadership skills.
Successful female leaders demand more autonomy as well as greater responsibility. This helps create opportunities where their performance can stand out and capture the attention of decision-makers who may help them advance.
They also continue to seek out unbiased, constructive feedback throughout their careers so that they can overcome their blind spots and continue to push for better results.
These women aren’t afraid to take credit for their ideas, and the results of their efforts.
Investing in self-development is critical to their advancement since women executives typically do not have the network of peers, mentors and other supporters that their male counterparts have to act as their mentors and guides.
Crafting Your Management Style
The third trait that successful female CEOs share is that they focus, early on, in developing their own personal management style. They learn how to focus on developing their best traits and use them to overcome corporate stereotypes and cultural bias.
Rather than trying to mirror male leadership traits which can make women seem aggressive, they find ways to achieve high performance while maintaining their identity as women. They use their people skills to encourage, without coming across as harsh and domineering. They drive results by using their empathy to forge strong relationships and motivate and inspire their teams towards greater cooperation and collaboration.
When women recognise their leadership potential and make the conscious decision to lead, there really is little that can hold them back.
Do you believe in yourself? Are you ready to take your career straight to the top? What’s stopping you?
Executive coaching can help you learn how to identify your strengths and limitations and help put you on the path to developing your personal style of leadership. Talk to Linda today to learn more about how to gain the insight and self-awareness that you need to break down every barrier that stands between you and your career goals!